Wednesday, November 24, 2010


In getting oriented to living in North Carolina, I did my readings about my new home: its flora and fauna, its history, its culture, and so on. It was all very informative. In a book on the humor of North Carolina, I found this intriguing passage:

William Byrd II in his book "History of the Dividing Line," described North Carolinians as being extremely lazy:

"Surely there is no place in the World where the Inhabitants live with less Labour than in N Carolina. It approaches nearer to the Description of Lubberland than any other, by the great felicity of the Climate, the easiness of raising Provisions, and the Slothfulness of the People. Indian Corn is of so great increase, that a little Pains will Subsist a very large Family with Bread, and then they may have meat without any pains at all, by the Help of the Low Grounds, and the great Variety of Mast that grows on the High-land. The Men, for their Parts, just like the Indians, impose all the Work upon the poor Women. They make their Wives rise out of their Beds early in the Morning, at the same time that they lye and Snore, till the Sun has run one third of his course, and disperst all the unwholesome Damps. Then, after Stretching and Yawning for half an Hour, they light their Pipes, and, under the Protection of a cloud of Smoak, venture out into the open Air; tho', if it happens to be never so little cold, they quickly return Shivering into the Chimney corner. When the weather is mild, they stand leaning with both their arms upon the corn-field fence, and gravely consider whether they had best go and take a Small Heat at the Hough: but generally find reasons to put it off till another time. Thus they loiter away their Lives, like Solomon's Sluggard, with their Arms across, and at the Winding up of the Year Scarcely have Bread to Eat. To speak the Truth, tis a thorough Aversion to Labor that makes People file off to N Carolina, where Plenty and a Warm Sun confirm them in their Disposition to Laziness for their whole Lives." -- William Byrd II

This amazed me. Were they really lazy, or was it a trait ascribed to them by some jealous outsider? Some of the locals view Virginians as often full of themselves; and it's hard to see William Byrd II as the jealous type. A sexual predator, perhaps, if you read his autobiography. No, I won't go into details about this guy . . . . But as to the allegedly laziness? I saw no present-day evidence for this. And, since laziness is partly due to genetics and the gene pool is not that different now as compared to then, I think that the Tarheels Byrd saw were normal in industriousness. And I can personally attest to the early morning traffic numbers: those North Carolinians were not late-risers. So why the calumny? My take on it is that the Tarheels trounced the Cavaliers or the Hokies in basketball! . . . . Yes, there's always a simple explanation for things.

[My approximation to UNC Blue. color used for this entry.]


Anemone said...

It's a well-known fact: 80% of the regional hostilities are due to basketball. Basketball should be banned!

Banana Oil said...

This was interesting. I read a little about him, and he also mistreated his slaves awfully.

Svejk said...

North Carolinans are lazy! They taught me that in a fine Virginian school.